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US, major EU states recognize independent Kosovo

[JURIST] The United States and several key European Union powers formally recognized Kosovo as a sovereign state Monday, one day after the Assembly of Kosovo unilaterally declared Kosovo's independence [text; JURIST report] from Serbia. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued a statement [text] on behalf of the United States which "formally recognized Kosovo as a sovereign and independent state," adding that President George W. Bush had "responded affirmatively" [Bush letter] to a request from Kosovo to open diplomatic relations with the US. AP has more.

Also Monday, the EU's General Affairs and External Relations Council concluded [PDF text] that the decision to recognize Kosovo's independence would be left to each EU member state, "in accordance with national practice and international law." Great Britain, France, and Germany recognized Kosovo's independence Monday, but Spain, Slovakia, Greece, Cyprus, and Romania said they would not. The Serbian government, which immediately denounced the unilateral declaration as illegal [press release], said Monday it would never recognize Kosovo as an independent state. The Serbian Interior Ministry has also filed treason charges [JURIST report] against Kosovo's prime minister, president and speaker of parliament for their roles in organizing the declaration of independence. AP has more.

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